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~ Herpes ~


~ Herpes ~

Herpes simplex virus can cause small blisters or sores on the mouth or genitals. Oral herpes is more commonly known as cold sores. With genital herpes most don't even know it because their symptoms are too mild to notice. Herpes is easily spread during an active outbreak or a few days just before an outbreak. Herpes is not dangerous it does not effect the immune system or lead to other health problems. Herpes can be spread even when no symptoms are present.The best way to prevent the spread of genital herpes is to avoid sex during an active outbreak and to use condoms between outbreaks. Most couples decide together how to reduce risk.
Herpes simplex is a common and usually mild infection. It can cause "cold sores" or "fever blisters" on the mouth or face, this is oral herpes. In the genital area this is known as genital herpes. A virus causes herpes--either herpes simplex type 1 (HSV-1) or herpes simplex type 2 (HSV-2). This is very different from other common viral infections because once it is introduced it stays in the body for a lifetime, sometimes without symptoms or only with periodic symptoms. This is called "latency.". The virus can travel the nerve pathways in a part of the body and hide, or sleeping, in the nerve roots for long periods of time. Even though HSV may not cause "cold sores" or genital signs or symptoms at the moment, it can still cause symptoms later. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The first time a person is infected with HSV-1 or HSV-2 the immune system has not developed very well and the virus can multiply quickly and spread to more places than it might later on. The first symptoms can be uncomfortable and usually happen within two weeks after the virus is been introduced. Some people with the first episode is so mild they don't even notice it. Some have no symptoms at all. When a symptom does occur, it could be a re-activation months or years later first contact.
The first episode can take 4-6 weeks to heal fully, it could be the most extreme outbreak a person will ever have and may cause small pimples or blisters, which will scab like a cut. They can reappear again with a second crop of lesions. They can also cause flu-like symptoms, with fever, swollen glands in lymph nodes near the groin area. These symptoms vary with each person and may be obvious or hard to see, painful or not.
Genital Herpes symptoms will vary person by person, and from one outbreak to the next. People who have very mild herpes infection, never experience any signs or symptoms. Some have such mild symptoms that they may not know they have the infection for many years. For others, outbreaks can be frequent and often cause extreme discomfort.
Common signs are breaks or irregularities in the skin, such as a cut, red bump or rash. Small sores or blisters that form a crust, they occur anywhere in the region between the legs, thigh, buttocks, anus, or genital area.
Researchers have learned that the herpes virus can become active without causing signs or symptoms. Even people who know they have recurring outbreaks can have outbreaks that they are not aware of and therefore not aware that the virus has reactivated. Some lesions are unnoticed because they occur in spots we never look or are mistaken for something else like an ingrown hair or can be so small they can't be seen with the human eye.
On the other hand, very subtle forms of recurring herpes that heal quickly, in a matter of days. These can be found anywhere in or around the genital area. They are often mistaken for insect bites, jock itch, razor burn, yeast infections, hemorrhoids or an ingrown hair.
The early phase of a recurring herpes, many people feel itchy, or tingling or painful feeling in the area where the lesions will occur. This can include pain in the buttocks, back of legs or even lower back. These signs often happen a day or two before the outbreak.
The outbreak depends upon the herpes virus type and how long the infection has been in the body. Scientists don't fully understand what triggers the herpes virus and appear to be an individual thing. Research has shown that long periods to strong sunlight can trigger oral herpes. Genital herpes can be triggered by surgical trauma and excessive friction in the genital area. In time, people begin to recognize what will trigger an outbreak in their own bodies.
Herpes is spread by direct skin-to-skin contact. If you have a cold sore and kiss someone, the virus can be transferred and the person you kiss could get herpes also. If you have active genital herpes and have intercourse, the virus can be transmitted to your partner. And, if you have a cold sore and put your mouth on a partner's genitals, the partner can acquire genital herpes.
It is important to understand herpes, the basics of herpes prevention and make decisions with your partner together which precautions are best. There are social and emotional impacts of herpes, too. When you know you have an outbreak, abstain from sex. When signs and symptoms are present, be responsible about putting an uninfected partner at risk. Use latex condoms between outbreaks. Condoms offer useful protection against when you don't know you are having an outbreak protecting or covering the mucous membranes that are the most likely the site of infection. Condoms are not 100 percent protection, a lesion may be found where the condom doesn't cover. But, at this time, they are the best available form of prevention. Films and Gels or spermicides used in contraceptive foams, kill or neutralize the virus in lab tests. These may provide some protection when used in the vagina at the recommended dose for contraception. Use spermicides and condoms together for the best protection.
The summer of 1999 brought new testing options for people concerned about thr herpes simplex virus. In July, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved two tests from Meridian Diagnostics, one for HSV-1 and the other for HSV-2.
Blood tests are often used when a person has concerns about herpes, but does not have any visible symptoms. In the past, type-specific blood tests were not always accurate because of other herpes virus antibodies such as chicken pox and mononucleosis or "mono" (the sleeping sickness) for herpes simplex for both types 1 and 2 antibodies. These new tests are extremely accurate and rarely confuse herpes simplex with other herpes viruses. While both of these blood tests are type-specific tests, they are administered in two completely different ways. The health care provider takes a blood sample from the arm and the blood is sent to the lab for results. These results could take a few days depending on how fast the lab can do the test. The new test can be done in a doctor's office. The doctor sticks your finger, drops the blood into the test kit and six minutes later read the results. Like all blood tests, these tests cannot determine whether the infection is oral or genital. Since most cases of genital herpes are caused by HSV-2, a positive Type 2 result most likely indicates a genital infection.
There is no treatment to cure herpes. But there are medications that can help keep the virus in check. There are prescription medications your doctor can prescribe. The drugs disrupt the virus' ability to reproduce. All are safe and have almost no side effects.
A person can opt to take the medication only during an outbreak to speed healing. The treatment is for five days. The healing time can be shortened by about two days. If you choose episodic therapy, fill your prescription and have it ready before an outbreak so you can begin taking the medication at the first signs.
Taking antiviral medication daily as a preventative keeps HSV in check it can reduce flare ups and lessen symptoms. Suppressive therapy can lower the number of outbreaks and, for some, can prevent them altogether. Research studies are being done to determine whether on-going antiviral medication will help prevent transmission.
The social and emotional impact of herpes is greater than the physical distress. Society tends to have a judgmental attitude about sexually transmitted diseases. Many people feel embarrassed or isolated after they are diagnosed. In time, accurate information and support, most people put herpes in perspective.
Some people won't tell, or don't tell every partner. Some don't tell until after they've had sex. Telling your partner gives the person a chance to make an informed decision. When you tell, you are showing respect and concern for his or her well being. Honesty may build intimacy and trust. Not telling, you might invent lies and half-truths to postpone sex during outbreaks. With an important, often neglected, discussion about sexual health. Herpes is one of over 20 sexually transmitted infections. Others have more serious consequences. Your honesty can encourage your partner to share sexual history and health information with you.
There are also legal actions that could occur without telling.
You must first come to terms yourself with having herpes. If you haven't, then how can you expect another person to understand. Have you informed yourself the basic steps to reduce the risk? Do you know the facts about herpes? Telling someone can be a sensitive topic it's best to let a friendship develop first, but do not to wait until after you've become sexually intimate. Anger and mistrust can be a reaction. Telling a partner about herpes is only a small part of a relationship. By asking them if they have ever had a cold sore or fever blister and if they know what virus it is, is a good way to start. Some may overreact and some it won't bother. Many people have genital herpes or have heard about it, many people won't be shocked or surprised.
Pregnancy about 25% of pregnant women have genital herpes. It is very rare to spread herpes to a newborn. Newborns may be infected by mothers who get herpes for the first time just before giving birth. Mothers have not had enough time to build up a natural immunity and when the virus is active during delivery, then the baby is at risk. Kissing babies with an active cold sore can spread the virus to the baby. Sometimes it is spread by touch. An infant with herpes is very dangerous. They can become very ill, cause eye or throat infections, damaging the central nervous system, mental retardation or even death. Medication may help prevent or reduce lasting damage if treated early enough. When a woman has active herpes at the time of delivery, a Cesarean section is usually performed, avoiding the vagina area.
If you're pregnant and you have had herpes the best thing is to talk to your doctor and if you have active symptons during labour, inform the medical staff. Be informed, your babies life depends on you before and after birth. Otherwise you could have a very sick baby.

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